What is the National e-Invoicing System (KSeF)?

The National e-Invoice System is an ICT system operated by the Head of KAS for issuing, storing and receiving so-called structured invoices (hereinafter referred to as e-invoices). As of January 1, 2022, VAT taxpayers can voluntarily use KSeF. Currently, e-invoices are equivalent to other types of invoices known to entrepreneurs (electronic and paper), while the choice of a particular form depends solely on the decision of the document issuer. Voluntariness in the use of KSeF is also expressed in the requirement to obtain the recipient’s approval to receive an invoice structured using KSeF. Failure by the issuer to obtain such approval means that it does not lose the ability to issue the document in KSeF, but it must transmit the e-invoice to the recipient in another manner agreed with the recipient.

To issue a structured invoice, use a dedicated accounting program integrated with KSeF or an application prepared by the Ministry of Finance. After the document is sent in a structured electronic format to KSeF, the e-invoice is approved or rejected in case of errors. The day the e-invoice is sent to KSeF is at the same time the day it is issued. In case of positive verification, KSeF automatically assigns an individual number to the document, which is equivalent to its receipt. It should be remembered that the issuance of a structured invoice also affects the obligations in a possible correction. According to the provisions of the VAT Law, a correction invoice to an invoice issued via KSeF can only be issued in the form of a structured invoice.

Benefits of invoicing in the KSeF
The legislator has provided several benefits for those voluntarily using KSeF. For taxpayers documenting transactions exclusively in this way, there is a shortened deadline for VAT refunds of 40 days – while the basic deadline is 60 days. Obtaining a faster refund, however, depends on meeting additional conditions. These include, among others, the requirement to register as an active VAT taxpayer, submit tax returns and have a settlement account on the so-called white list of VAT taxpayers for a period of 12 months immediately preceding the period for which the taxpayer applies for a refund. In addition, the amount of input tax or tax difference unsettled in previous settlement periods and shown in the return must not exceed PLN 3,000.

The use of the voluntary KSeF also entails a simplification in the settlement of in-minus adjustments. A taxpayer issuing a structured correction invoice is not required to have documentation confirming the agreement with the buyer of goods or services on the terms of the reduction of the tax base. This entitlement is available to the issuer regardless of obtaining approval from the purchaser to receive the document via KSeF. However, the purchaser using KSeF is obliged to make the adjustment in the settlement for the period in which he received the invoice structured through this system.

The issuance of voluntary e-invoices will entail the absence of the need to generate JPK_FA files at the request of the tax authorities, since all e-invoices are in KSeF, which can be accessed by the tax apparatus when reasonably necessary. Some benefits associated with the use of the optional KSeF should also be credited to the storage of all structured invoices in a central system, which, if a document is lost or destroyed by the taxpayer, will not result in additional administrative work to restore the document.

Despite the tangible benefits, data presented by the Ministry of Finance in mid-2022 shows that taxpayers used KSeF mainly for testing purposes, while the number of e-invoices actually issued was small. However, due to upcoming changes in universal invoicing, this trend seems to be slowly changing.

Mandatory KSeF coming soon
It is worth pointing out that the legislator plans to introduce an obligatory KSeF as early as July 1, 2024. According to the assumptions, the obligation to issue e-invoices will be extended to VAT taxpayers with a registered office or permanent place of business in Poland. A structured invoice (with certain exceptions) will be the only permissible type of invoice. The advancement of work on this project indicates that a mandatory KSeF seems to be a matter of time, so it is a good idea to start preparing now for the upcoming changes. Taxpayers should verify whether the software needed to implement KSeF will be provided by the current supplier of the financial and accounting software, or whether it will be necessary to obtain a suitable IT solution from another supplier. As part of the KSeF implementation, it will also be necessary to review and appropriately adjust the company’s procedures related to the process of issuing and sending invoices (including, among other things, verifying the scope of data on invoices, defining the responsibilities of those involved in the process), as well as the receipt of invoices via KSeF. It is also worth conducting employee training on the upcoming changes (not only for those employed in accounting departments, but also for other units within the organization dealing with the invoicing and invoice handling processes).

Is it worth using the voluntary KSeF?
So, since the mandatory implementation of invoicing via KSeF awaits Polish taxpayers in the not-too-distant future, the question arises, is it worth starting to use this solution earlier, when it remains optional? It is certainly not worth putting off preparations until the last minute, when issuing and exchanging e-invoices via KSeF will become mandatory. The voluntary KSeF, which is currently in operation, can be an interesting solution especially for those taxpayers who are quite advanced in these preparations and would like to get better acquainted with this new solution under practical conditions, thus checking the level of preparation, even before the introduction of the general obligation to use e-invoices. For example, they might consider implementing e-invoices gradually, for example, for only selected counterparties or types of transactions. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that the mere issuance of e-invoices under the voluntary KSeF does not require the consent of the recipient, this consent is necessary if the e-invoice would also be delivered via this system (of course, such consent on the part of the buyer would allow even better “testing” of the system’s operation). The use of the voluntary KSeF should furthermore be considered by companies for which the incentives provided (such as shorter VAT refunds or simplifications in accounting for downward adjustments) will be particularly cost-effective given the nature of their business.